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Discourses on Violence in Costa Rica, El Salvador and Nicaragua: National Patterns of Attention and Cross-border Discursive Nodes


  • Anika Oettler

    () (GIGA Institute of Latin American Studies)


It has become common to state that youth gangs and organized crime have seized Central America. For theories on contemporary Central American violence, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Nicaragua present important test cases, demonstrating the need to differentiate the diagnosis. First, national discourses on violence differ from country to country, with varying threat levels, patterns of attention, and discursive leitmotivs. Second, there are border-crossing discursive nodes such as the mara paradigm, the perception of grand corruption, and gender-based violence tied to cross-national, national or sub-national publics. The paper explores the ambiguity and plurivocality of contemporary discourses on violence, emanting from a variety of hegemonic and less powerful publics.

Suggested Citation

  • Anika Oettler, 2007. "Discourses on Violence in Costa Rica, El Salvador and Nicaragua: National Patterns of Attention and Cross-border Discursive Nodes," GIGA Working Paper Series 65, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:gig:wpaper:65

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Williamson, Oliver E, 1979. "Transaction-Cost Economics: The Governance of Contractural Relations," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(2), pages 233-261, October.
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    8. Reardon, Thomas & Codron, Jean-Marie & Busch, Lawrence & Bingen, R. James & Harris, Craig, 1999. "Global Change In Agrifood Grades And Standards: Agribusiness Strategic Responses In Developing Countries," International Food and Agribusiness Management Review, International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA), vol. 2(03/04).
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    More about this item


    Central America; violence; youth gangs; corruption; gender; discourse analysis;

    JEL classification:

    • Q17 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agriculture in International Trade

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